2017 Locus Awards Winners Announced

The 2017 Locus Awards were announced Saturday, June 24, at the Locus Awards Weekend held in Seattle, WA. The awards are hosted by the Locus Science Fiction Foundation and winners determined through an open online poll; this year the poll ran from February 1 to April 15.   The nominees and winners are:

  • Winner: Death’s End, Cixin Liu (Tor; Head of Zeus)
  • Company Town, Madeline Ashby (Tor)
  • The Medusa Chronicles, Stephen Baxter & Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Saga)
  • Take Back the Sky, Greg Bear (Orbit)
  • Visitor, C.J. Cherryh (DAW)
  • Babylon’s Ashes, James S.A. Corey (Orbit)
  • After Atlas, Emma Newman (Roc)
  • Central Station, Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon)
  • The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Doubleday; Fleet)
  • Last Year, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)
  • Winner: All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor)
  • Summerlong, Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon)
  • City of Blades, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
  • The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Children of Earth and Sky, Guy Gavriel Kay (NAL)
  • The Wall of Storms, Ken Liu (Saga; Head of Zeus)
  • The Last Days of New Paris, China Miéville (Del Rey; Picador)
  • The Winged Histories, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
  • The Nightmare Stacks, Charles Stross (Ace) Necessity, Jo Walton (Tor)
  • Winner: The Fireman, Joe Hill (Morrow)
  • The Brotherhood of the Wheel, R.S. Belcher (Tor)
  • Fellside, M.R. Carey (Orbit)
  • Mongrels, Stephen Graham Jones (Morrow)
  • The Fisherman, John Langan (Word Horde)
  • Certain Dark Things, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Dunne)
  • HEX, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • The Family Plot, Cherie Priest (Tor)
  • Lovecraft Country, Matt Ruff (Harper)
  • Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, Paul Tremblay (Morrow)
  • Winner: Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US)
  • The Reader, Traci Chee (Putnam)
  • Waypoint Kangaroo, Curtis Chen (Dunne)
  • The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (St. Martin’s)
  • The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig (Greenwillow; Hot Key)
  • Roses and Rot, Kat Howard (Saga)
  • Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
  • Infomocracy, Malka Older (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)
  • Vigil, Angela Slatter (Jo Fletcher)


  • Winner: Revenger, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Orbit US)
  • Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo (Holt)
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin)
  • Lois Lane: Double Down, Gwenda Bond (Switch)
  • Truthwitch, Susan Dennard (Tor Teen)
  • Poisoned Blade, Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
  • Burning Midnight, Will McIntosh (Delacorte; Macmillan) Goldenhand, Garth Nix (Harper; Allen & Unwin; Hot Key)
  • This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab (Titan; Greenwillow)
  • The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman (Candlewick)
  • Winner: Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Lost Child of Lychford, Paul Cornell (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Hammers on Bone, Cassandra Khaw (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
  • This Census-taker, China Miéville (Del Rey; Picador)
  • The Iron Tactician, Alastair Reynolds (NewCon)
  • The Dispatcher, John Scalzi (Audible; Subterranean)
  • Pirate Utopia, Bruce Sterling (Tachyon)
  • A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Winner: “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny May/June 2016)
  • ‘‘The Art of Space Travel”, Nina Allan (Tor.com July 27, 2016)
  • “Pearl”, Aliette de Bodard (The Starlit Wood)
  • “Red as Blood and White as Bone”, Theodora Goss (Tor.com May 4, 2016)
  • “Foxfire, Foxfire”, Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies March 3, 2016)
  • “The Visitor from Taured”, Ian R. MacLeod (Asimov’s August 2016)
  • “Spinning Silver”, Naomi Novik (The Starlit Wood)
  • “Those Shadows Laugh”, Geoff Ryman (F&SF September/October 2016)
  • “The Future is Blue”, Catherynne M. Valente (Drowned Worlds)
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary, Fran Wilde (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Winner: “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
  • “The Story of Kao Yu”, Peter S. Beagle (Tor.com December 7, 2016) “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny November/December 2016)
  • “A Salvaging of Ghosts”, Aliette de Bodard (Beneath Ceaseless Skies March 17, 2016)
  • “The City Born Great”, N.K. Jemisin (Tor.com September 28, 2016)
  • “Seven Birthdays”, Ken Liu (Bridging Infinity)
  • “Afrofuturist 419”, Nnedi Okorafor (Clarkesworld November 2016) “Sixteen Questions for Kamala Chatterjee”, Alastair Reynolds (Bridging Infinity)
  • “That Game We Played During the War”, Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com March 16, 2016)
  • “A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, Alyssa Wong (Tor.com March 2, 2016)
  • Winner: The Big Book of Science Fiction, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer (Vintage)
  • Children of Lovecraft, Ellen Datlow (Dark Horse)
  • The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Third Annual Collection, Gardner Dozois (St. Martin’s Griffin)
  • Hidden Youth: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, Mikki Kendall & Chesya Burke (Crossed Genres)
  • Tremontaine, Ellen Kushner (Serial Box; Saga)
  • Invisible Planets, Ken Liu (Tor; Head of Zeus)
  • The Starlit Wood, Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe (Saga)
  • The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume Ten, Jonathan Strahan (Solaris US)
  • Bridging Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (Solaris US)
  • Drowned Worlds, Jonathan Strahan (Solaris US)
  • Winner: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, Ken Liu (Saga; Head of Zeus)
  • Sharp Ends, Joe Abercrombie (Orbit)
  • Hwarhath Stories: Twelve Transgressive Tales by Aliens, Eleanor Arnason (Aqueduct)
  • A Natural History of Hell, Jeffrey Ford (Small Beer)
  • The Complete Orsinia, Ursula K. Le Guin (Library of America)
  • The Found and the Lost, Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga)
  • The Best of Ian McDonald, Ian McDonald (PS)
  • Dreams of Distant Shores, Patricia A. McKillip (Tachyon)
  • Beyond the Aquila Rift: The Best of Alastair Reynolds, Alastair Reynolds (Subterranean)
  • Not So Much, Said the Cat, Michael Swanwick (Tachyon)


  • Winner: The Geek Feminist Revolution, Kameron Hurley (Tor) Science Fiction Rebels: The Story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1981-1990, Mike Ashley (Liverpool University)
  • Octavia E. Butler, Gerry Canavan (University of Illinois Press) Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction, André M. Carrington (University of Minnesota Press)
  • Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, Ruth Franklin (Liveright)
  • The View From the Cheap Seats, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline)
  • Time Travel: A History, James Gleick (Pantheon)
  • Words Are My Matter: Writings about Life and Books 2000-2016, Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
  • The History of Science Fiction: Second Edition, Adam Roberts (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood)

For complete information about additional awards, the Locus Science Fiction Foundation, the Awards Weekend, and anything Locus Magazine related, be sure to visit the Locus Magazine website.

Lavie Tidhar’s CENTRAL STATION Wins Campbell Award

[Featured image courtesy lavietidhar.wordpress.com]

The 2017 John W. Campbell Award ceremony was held this past weekend in Lawrence, Kansas at the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. Central Station by Lavie Tidhar, takes that honor home this year.

Central Station has been accumulating praise and accolades since  publication in May of 2016 by Tachyon Publishing. An NPR Best Book of 2016 and a Guardian Best SF & Fantasy Book, it also made the long list for the British Science Fiction Award, as well as a nomination for the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award.

The other nominees included:

  • Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter: The Medusa Chronicles
  • Don DeLillo: Zero K
  • Kij Johnson: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe
  • Paul J. McAuley: Into Everywhere
  • Nisi Shawl: Everfair
  • Tricia Sullivan: Occupy Me
  • Tade Thompson: Rosewater
  • Colson Whitehead: The Underground Railroad
  • Aliya Whiteley: The Arrival of Missives
  • Rick Wilber: Alien Morning
  • Ben Winters: Underground Airlines
  • John Nicholas Wood: Azanian Bridges

Author Tidhar was unable to attend the conference; Gunn Center administrator and 2017 jury member Christopher McKitterick was in attendance to accept the award on Tidhar’s behalf.

“Saving the World Through Science Fiction”- John W. Campbell Award Nominees

[Featured image courtesy the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction at Kansas State University]

The finalists for the 2017 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel have been announced by Christopher McKitterick, Director of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction. The Award Banquet will take place Friday, June 16, at this year’s Campbell Conference.

The finalists are as follows:
Alastair Reynolds and Stephen Baxter: The Medusa Chronicles
Don DeLillo: Zero K
Kij Johnson: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe
Paul J. McAuley: Into Everywhere
Nisi Shawl: Everfair
Tricia Sullivan: Occupy Me
Tade Thompson: Rosewater
Lavie Tidhar: Central Station
Colson Whitehead: The Underground Railroad
Aliya Whiteley: The Arrival of Missives
Rick Wilber: Alien Morning
Ben Winters: Underground Airlines
John Nicholas Wood: Azanian Bridges

The John W. Campbell Award was created in 1973 by Harry Harrison and Brian Aldiss to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine (since changed to Analog). Campbell is considered by many in the field as the father of modern SF.

This year’s Conference, held in the Lawrence, Kansas University Student Union, will feature the celebration of James Gunn and the mission statement of the Gunn Center, “Saving the world through science fiction.” It includes a Friday-evening banquet where the annual Theodore Sturgeon and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards will be presented.

Jurors this year include Gregory Benford, Sheila Finch, James Gunn, Elizabeth Anne Hull, Paul Kincaid, Pamela Sargent, and Lisa Yaszek, as well as McKitterick.

The Conference takes place on June 16-18.


Awards Roundup May 2017

[Banner image courtesy Official James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award Facebook page.]

Spring is in the air and awards ceremonies are in full bloom. Recently a number of award winners have been announced, with the official ceremonies to follow over the 2017 Memorial Day weekend.


Image courtesy Official Baltimore Science Fiction Society website.

First off, the Compton Crook Memorial Award ceremony will take place at Balticon 51, Baltimore Maryland. Added to the event is the special citation of the Robert A. Heinlein Award. The Crook Award is voted on by the members of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society for the best first English language science fiction, fantasy, or horror novel from the previous year.

The winner/nominees are as follows:


  • Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer (Tor)


  • Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
  • Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Sleep State Interrupt, T. C. Weber (See Sharp)
  • Sleeping Giants, Sylvain Neuvel (Del Rey)
  • Sword and Verse, Kathy MacMillan (HarperTeen)

The Heinlein Award was established by the Heinlein Society in 2003 “for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings to inspire the human exploration of space.”

This year, author Robert J. Sawyer has been honored with this award for his (so far) lifetime body of work.


Image courtesy Tiptree.org.


The James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award is an annual literary prize for works of science fiction or fantasy that expand or explore one’s understanding of gender. The ceremony will also be held Memorial Day weekend at Wiscon 41 in Madison, Wisconsin.

This year’s winner/nominees are as follows:


  • When the Moon Was Ours, Anna-Marie McLemore (Thomas Dunne)

Honor List:

  • Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
  • The Core of the Sun, Johanna Sinisalo (Grove/Black Cat)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)
  • Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com)
  • Hwarhath Stories, Eleanor Arnason (Aqueduct)
  • “The Night Bazaar for Women Becoming Reptiles”, Rachel K. Jones (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 7 Jul 2016)
  • “Opals and Clay”, Nino Cipri (Podcastle 12 May 2016)
  • Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer (Tor)
  • Will Do Magic for Small Change, Andrea Hairston (Aqueduct)

The Tiptree was created by science fiction authors Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler in February 1991.

For more details on the conventions hosting these ceremonies, visit SciFi4Me.com’s Events Calendar.



2016 Nebula Award Winners Announced

On May 20, 2017, the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America converged in Pittsburgh to hand out the  annual Nebula Awards as part of the 51st annual Nebula Conference. The Nebula Banquet was hosted by NASA astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren.

Included in the honors were the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, among others.

Here’s the list of winners, followed by their fellow nominees:


  • Winner: All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
  • The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Ninefox GambitYoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
  • Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)


  • Winner: Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Runtime, S.B. Divya (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
  • ‘‘The Liar’’, John P. Murphy (F&SF 3-4/16)
  • A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)


  • Winner: ‘‘The Long Fall Up’’, William Ledbetter (F&SF 5-6/16)
  • ‘‘Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea’’, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 2/16)
  • ‘‘Blood Grains Speak Through Memories’’, Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 3/17/16)
  • “The Orangery“, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 12/8/16)
  • The Jewel and Her Lapidary, Fran Wilde (Tor.com Publishing)
  • ‘‘You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay’’, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny 5-6/16)

Short Story:

  • Winner: ‘‘Seasons of Glass and Iron“, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
  • “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies’’, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny 11-12/16)
  • ‘‘Sabbath Wine’’, Barbara Krasnoff (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
  • ‘‘Things With Beards’’, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 6/16)
  • ‘‘This Is Not a Wardrobe Door’’, A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Magazine 1/16)
  • ‘‘A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers’’, Alyssa Wong (Tor.com 3/2/16)
  • ‘‘Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station│Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0’’, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed 3/16)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation:

  • Winner: Arrival
  • Doctor Strange
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  • Westworld: ‘‘The Bicameral Mind’’
  • Zootopia

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy:

  • Winner: Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin)
  • The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (St. Martin’s)
  • The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK; Abrams)
  • Railhead, Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press; Switch)
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Lindsay Ribar (Dawson)
  • The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman (Candlewick)



KATE WILHELM SOLSTICE AWARD:  Peggy Rae Sapienza (Posthumous), Toni Weisskopf


Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

Charlie Jane Anders also won the Crawford award earlier this year. You can read the SciFi4Me article here.

For more information on the Nebula Awards and the Conference, visit the SFWA website.


H2O #155: In Which We Discuss Planet Comicon 2017


It’s over for another year.

Planet Comicon has come and gone, and this year we got a great opportunity to repeat what we did at Worldcon: broadcast live online from the event floor. With the help of our friends at TV25.tv, we were able to stream interviews and live coverage from PCC pretty much all weekend.

In this episode, we take a look at how things came together and how the weekend went. Our post-Planet analysis continues, and we’re still posting video to SciFi4Me TV, so check back frequently for updates. We think we may have an angle on this live video thing, but we’re still getting a feel for what the equipment can do, should do, and what our team is able to deliver — which is a lot!

Programming note: H2O is now on a bi-weekly schedule, so every other Saturday is when you’ll get a new episode.





Planet Comicon 2017: The Funny, Fabulous Felicia Day

All of the guests at Planet Comicon that I saw were very popular, but I think Felicia was the most loved. Audience member after audience member stood up and said that she had changed their lives. Usually they mentioned The Guild, a webseries that Felicia Day created and starred in. Day makes being a geeky girl and a gamer cool and acceptable. She is an inspiration to many.

She brought Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, made of balloons, with her. They got handed out to audience members during the panel. She was always a fan of MST3K, along with her brother (see our coverage of the new show here). She met Joel Hodgson at a convention and went to take a selfie with him just to rub it in her brother’s face that she met him and her brother didn’t. They got along famously and some time later she got the email asking if she wanted to be in the return of MST3K. It was her second best email, the first being the one from Joss Whedon that simply asked, “Can you sing?”

Felicia Day and the balloon robots:

I think she’s right that the Whedon email was the best because Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog was really the beginning of everything. I remembered her from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, of course, but I think that Penny was her breakout role.

Felicia is mad scientist Kinga Forrester in the revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the daughter of the original Dr. Forrester, who plagued his hapless employees. She was asked what the worst movie was that she had inflicted on them in the current show, and she said it had to be either Avalanche or The Beast of Hollow Mountain.

Of Charlie on Supernatural, she said that Charlie was stronger and braver than she was. She liked that she got to be geeky. She thought Charlie was inspirational because she was gay and geeky.

You guys just don’t know how to have fun. (Credit: Cate Cameron/The CW)

GeekNation’s Clare Kramer asked how she felt about Charlie’s death, and pointed out that as a woman on Supernatural it was inevitable. Felicia said when she first got the call and they said she was dying, she asked “Permanently?” But she knew she was really dead when they burned her body. When her hair burned. “If you burn your hair, you can’t resurrect somebody.” Nevertheless, if they wanted to bring her back, she was ready. Felicia thought she did well because she lasted for four seasons.

Felicia had a baby girl in January that she named Calliope. She had a few things to say about new motherhood. She said she was freaking out about the ten pounds she still had after having the baby, but realized that she could buy new pants! In a bigger size! “Look,” she said,”new pants!” A simple statement, and funny. But at the same time it has deeper meaning. Why do women stress out so much about those things?

She also said,”Do you know how hard it is to get milk out of a breast?” Then, perhaps thinking of the mommy wars, she added that it was hard to feed them in any way. If you can keep a baby fed and alive, it’s a miracle. You put them down on a bed and they decide to roll off and fall down the couple of feet to the floor. (Yes, Felicia, babies don’t make good decisions)

They mentioned a few more of her creations without getting into too much detail. Geek and Sundry, the youtube channel. She wrote a memoir called You Are Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). She’s done some voice acting for games.

Someone asked what her favorite board game was and she talked about Scythe, and about cute little cows, and admitted that she was all about the accessories. She said “I don’t have people at my house except to play games. I’m not going to talk to you.”

She won’t talk to you if you win, either. (Photo by: Eike Schroter/Syfy)

Someone asked if she had had a real supernatural experience, and she said when she was about five, there was a plant with no flowers on it and half an hour later it had one and she was amazed.

She was asked what her inspiration for writing was and she said it was embarrassing situations. If it was personal, a little bit scary, and she hadn’t told anyone about it, it was fodder for a story. She firmly believes that more women should be making stories.

It was a great experience to be able to see and hear Felicia in a panel. She’s as delightful in person as she is on screen. I can’t wait to see where she pops up next.

From Planet Comicon 2017: LEVEL ELEVENTY-SEVEN Episode 115 Live

Episode 419 “All the Madame’s Men”
Written by James C. Oliver & Sharla Oliver
Directed by Billy Gierhart

Live from Planet Comicon 2017!

The gang takes time to discuss Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the episode where Daisy uses her powers without pain, May becomes a traitor to Hydra, and Coulson goes on television to claim his place as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.


The panel: Maia Ades, Mindy Inlow, Dan Handley, Sam Sentman, Timothy Harvey, Jason Hunt





Planet Comicon 2017: Idjits, Death and No Bobby in Season 12 of SUPERNATURAL

Jim Beaver is a beloved character actor who has been on two shows that I review for SciFi4Me.com, Supernatural and Timeless. His character on Supernatural is well loved and remembered. It’s obvious by how many questions were about Supernatural and how the questions kept coming back to his death on the show that he is sorely missed.

Jim Beaver came out looking at his phone. He said he was waiting for tickets to Hamilton. It was a funny line but could be true because he sees a lot of plays and musicals. The audience said, “Say it!” “Say it!” and Jim called us “Idjits’.

Jim said that the first time he came to a convention and got a response like the one we had just given him, he looked to see if Elvis was behind him.

Jim Beaver waiting for Hamilton tickets. (Photo by Teresa Wickersham)

Clare Kramer from GeekNation moderated. Clare asked him about his role on Supernatural, and he said he just showed up and said his lines and tried not to bump into the furniture. She said he was a father figure to Sam and Dean, and he said that they had a real father out there somewhere, that he didn’t meet until the seventh season. At San Diego Comic Con, which is where he met Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He said he was glad Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as John Winchester) deserted the boys and then died, because that way there was a need for a father figure instead of a father.

Clare asked Jim about Timeless, and he said he would do anything Kripke asked him to do. (Eric Kripke created both Supernatural and Timeless.) They discussed what historical figure he would be. He said he wanted to be Robert E. Lee, or Ulysses Grant, but he ended up being a guy from now.

Kripke told me to come straighten you guys out. (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/NBC)

He said of his recent role on Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders that they use a lot of Supernatural alumni.

He waxed eloquent about Deadwood. It’s one of his favorite things. He knew it was something special when he saw the script. Deadwood was “the most expensive drama pilot made” which is also why it didn’t last forever. It had a huge cast of twenty to twenty-five people. Deadwood is why Bobby has a beard. Jim was working on Deadwood when he auditioned for Supernatural. “Now I can’t ever shave,” he said. He added that he was afraid to because he didn’t know what was under there anymore.

When asked why he came to Kansas City, he said his best friend recommended it. He said Jim should go there if he ever had a chance. So when they asked if he wanted to do something in Kansas City, he said “Yup”.

Jim said that he just looks at the script and guesses how to play it. Usually someone will tell him if he gets it wrong. Writers create and the actor visually and orally interprets what they have created. Ninety-nine percent of what you love is the writer. “I’m happy to be here and take his (Kripke’s) money.”

Jim Beaver’s favorite episode is “Weekend at Bobby’s”, which was Jensen Ackles’ first directing experience. He said Jensen did a fine job. It was exhausting, being on screen ninety percent of the time. He said that you wouldn’t be an actor if you didn’t want to have people pay attention to you. “Look at me.” It’s not about the art at first. Probably only “Daniel Day Lewis is playing Rousseau in his kindergarten.”

One of the audience members said his sister cried when he died. “You should have seen my accountant.”

Clare asked if he ever took his daughter to the set. He took Maddie to the set of Supernatural on her ninth birthday, where she proceeded to rat him out to everyone and told them that Daddy didn’t learn his lines and that he stayed up all night watching TV.

He was asked what the difference was between going to a Supernatural Creation Convention and a convention like Planet Comicon. He said that the difference was that there weren’t as many scantily clad people. Probably because there weren’t as many scantily clad women on Supernatural. Actually, the main difference is that the Creation cons were just for Supernatural and Comicons are for all kinds of things. Jim said that he took his life in his hands and went out in the lobby at Dragon*Con once. “Great Bobby costume.”

The audience was curious about pranks, since the set of Supernatural is known for the practical jokes that the cast play on each other. “They don’t pull a lot of pranks on me because they know better.” He said that Misha had filled Jared’s trailer with coins because he owed him money from a bet, and Jared put the coins in Misha’s car and told him to donate it to his favorite charity. He did say that anytime he was in a scene in a bed, Jared would be twisting his toes, which makes the scene where Bobby died seem a little different.

Nurse! Something is grabbing my toes! (Photo: Michael Courtney/The CW)

One person asked if he had any trouble memorizing all the Latin. He said he had ALL the trouble learning the Latin, but the props people were good at putting what they had to say in the script into the books they were holding. The problem was that Jim Beaver couldn’t read without glasses and Bobby doesn’t wear glasses, so the books got bigger and bigger. Jared, on the other hand, was really good at the Latin.

The worst thing that happened: falling down the stairs in Bobby’s basement. The worst shoot: a night shoot where Bobby had to close his eyes and shoot something out of a tree. That night seemed to last for years, he said. Mostly because Jared was cracking them up (Episode 7.09, “How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters”).

If I shoot him now, can I go home? (Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW)

He was asked about Bobby’s death more than once. He said the first time wasn’t so bad. It was a one page death and when he turned the page, he found out it was okay. Then he got the call that said they were killing him and if you weren’t on the CW you’d win an Emmy. He didn’t seem to think that was much consolation. When asked again later if he thought season seven was Bobby’s time to go, he answered no. “It was a punch in the gut. Dramatically effective. I’d much rather they’d killed someone else. It’s like real dying. I didn’t like it.”

Since Bobby’s death, the character has appeared in every season of Supernatural, whether as a ghost or a flashback or in some other magical way. Except this one. Of course someone asked if Bobby would make an appearance this season. He won’t. The series has wrapped and Jim Beaver said they did not have him back this season. He offered to break into the set and take some selfies. Do his own video. The audience offered to help him.

Welcome to Kansas City, Jim Beaver. We hope you enjoyed it and can come back soon.

(Disclaimer: None of the photo captions are actual quotes from either Jim Beaver or Bobby Singer.)


Planet Comicon 2017: Ron Perlman is a Great Storyteller

“Any kids in the room?” Ron Perlman asked. “F-em.” He said parents should let them stay because it would be a learning experience, and who better to learn from than Uncle Ron? He told us right up front that he cursed and was going to do so during the panel. Since this is a PG-rated site, cussing will be edited out of this article.

Clare Kramer of GeekNation moderated the panel. The stage was set with a living room arrangement, Clare sitting in a chair and the guests sitting on the couch. The sofa tended to eat people, so Ron sank down in it with mostly his head and knees showing from my point of view, which was kind of funny. He talked about how he felt invisible for a long time, so he still had that Sally Field, “you really like me” feeling.

Clare asked him how he met Guillermo del Toro. Ron said that del Toro sent him an irresistible love letter. He thought he was invisible, but the director had watched everything he had done. He told Ron in detail what he had loved about each performance. Unsurprisingly, Ron agreed to meet with him.

He said he knew they would get along with Guillermo when he asked, “Do you mind if we start with dessert first?” (I agree. You never know when you might not make it through dinner).  Del Toro told Ron about Hellboy and how much he wanted to make it with him as Hellboy. He introduced Ron to a statue of Hellboy. Ron, meet Hellboy. Hellboy, meet Ron. Ron knew nothing about the comic. He decided not to read it because he didn’t want to fall in love with the character and not get to do it, because he thought it was unlikely that it would be made. He tried to convince del Toro that he should be reasonable and cast someone big in the role, and del Toro said, “Yeah, I’ll make it with the Rock.”

After saying that, Guillermo del Toro waited seven years to make Hellboy because the studios wanted a big name and he wanted Ron Perlman.  Del Toro got closer after making Blade 2, but Pan’s Labyrinth made everyone’s top ten list and gave the director the chance to do what he wanted to do. After finding out that Hellboy was a go, Ron read everything Hellboy.

He praised del Toro for his integrity, not just to people, but to his artistic vision and Ron talked about how rare it was in Hollywood. What I mostly learned about Ron Perlman from this story is that he is a fantastic storyteller. It was a gripping narrative. He became Guillermo when he was describing what the director did or said, and he was really funny.

Some highlights from the questions and answers from the audience:

When asked about getting the role on Sons of Anarchy, Ron said he got the call from Kurt Sutter and it was the last civil conversation they had in six years. (no explanation)

Is there a role he regrets passing up? He never passed on anything. Check IMDB. He has no standards.

Makeup for Hellboy and Beauty and the Beast took the same amount of time: four hours in the chair on a normal day, six and a half when they had to do something special.

Just a few more hours to go. (Photo courtesy of IMDB)

Hellboy 3 is dead. They tried, and it’s not going to happen. (Sad, but not too surprising if you’ve been listening to the internet.)

When asked if Peg Bundy was really that sexy up front, Ron said she wasn’t that bad from behind, either. I found this an annoying question, not just because of the content, but because the actress’ name is Katey Sagal, and she was not playing Peg Bundy when she worked with Ron.

You killed Piney? Someone had to. He just talked, talked talked and he had that trike.

What superhero would you be? Hellboy. He has like 55 cats, he eats pizza and watches old Marx Brothers movies, and he’s an underachiever.

What would you Geek out about? “Porn.” Then he named Marlon Brando, Anthony Hopkins, and Sinatra as people he would lost the power of speech over.

No, he didn’t know Fallout would be a hit and he would do the next one if he gets called.

He absolutely would reprise his role as Slade on Teen Titans and credits Andrea Romano with getting him into voice acting and continuing to cast him. He finds film and TV interchangeable because they are structured the same, but voice acting is more results oriented, where you just show up and knock out a lot in a short amount of time.

Someone asked him about Clay, the character you love to hate and hate to love. Ron said he doesn’t judge but just asks, “Who is he?” He’s a guy who thinks that is the best leader for the family. He is trying to make a living and stay independent.

He was asked about Hellboy’s hand, and he said there were actually three. One for when the hand was just hanging by his side, one for making a fist, and a puppet hand that had mechanics in it.

It looks like one Hellboy hand to me. (Photo courtesy of IMDB)

He said that special effects guys were messed up geniuses. Ron’s a big fanboy of Rick Baker and Mike Elizalde, among others he named.

When he was asked about Jorge Gutierrez, with whom he worked on the Book of Life, he compared him a lot to del Toro. Okay, he actually said they are just the same. Both brilliant, artistic, full of life Mexican directors. He said Jorge was a younger version of Guillermo.

Ron knew the internet wanted him to play Cable from the Marvel Comics and that Josh Brolin has the role. “Cable should be playing me,” he said.

Someone complimented his voice, and he blamed it on Johnnie Walker Black and dark Nicaraguan cigars.

When asked what character he would have liked to have played, he said that he’d already played characters beyond anything he’d ever imagined. “How can I possibly dream of characters better than the ones I’ve already imagined? I just can’t do it.”

We can’t do it either, Ron. You’ve had a wonderful career of great characters that you did justice to, and we’ve all benefited from that.



Planet Comicon 2017: Blood, Honor, Board Games

Planet Comicon was this past weekend and while I was there I dropped by their casual board gaming room.  While I was there, I chatted with the guards manning the gates.  I also listened in on a couple of the pen and paper role playing games.  The table top games were listed on the Planet Comicon schedule.

The game room was bigger this time around that from year’s past and situated closer to the convention’s front entrance that ever before.  As a couple of the convention staffers manning the room mentioned, in previous years, the gaming room had a tendency to be located a little bit out of the way, or among other gaming rooms making it a little bit harder to find than this year.  With a more visible location the room received more traffic and they had the board games to spare!

Welcome, to Board Game Mountain!

I sat down with Christopher, T.J., Caleb, Lora, and Bill, Planet Comicon’s Dungeon Masters of Board Game Mountain, and asked a couple of questions to get a better feel for the ambiance the board game room had to offer.  While we were talking, I noticed that some staff responsibilities, like checking board game in and out of the vast library, had “who would do it” decided by games such as “Rock Paper Scissors”.

Amongst the conversation, they told me that the game room had been a part of Planet Comicon for a number of years, but this year they had gotten the largest room so far.  Last year, the previous room had gotten so packed that the area had to be expanded this year to accommodate more guests.  The larger room had a great set-up.  Plenty of tables and chairs for avid gamers, and even spaces for custom set ups which included a custom gaming table that was equipped with a special flat screen embedded into the table’s surface.  There was also a long table set up with a custom 3D printed miniature dungeon.

Pulll up a chair, set up a game, and play a while.

I also questioned the staff about their favorite board games:

Christopher, whose favorite game is Betrayal at House on the Hill, was really impressed with the game’s newest expansion pack.  His favorite thing about it was that the expansion includes the house’s bathroom (the main game apparently didn’t come with one)!  We also talked a little on the game’s mechanics.  Christopher reminisced on the scenario he liked the most where a Roc lifted a house with 6 players while only 5 parachutes, leaving the players to scramble Musical Chairs to escape.

T.J. recalled his favorite game that he played at a different convention.  He had picked up a card game that was launched on Kickstarter.  The person he had bought it from had a booth at the Mid-Americon he attended.  Even though T.J. had trouble recalling the name of the card game he remembered that it was something between a card game and an RPG.  The cards create characters and give room to create custom player driven stories for these new characters. The game is organized with cards for characters and a special “peg based system” that is for combat among “good guy” and “bad guy” pegs.  T.J. commented that it “was a pen and paper RPG without all the entrapments of D&D.  Fast set up and neat.”

~Every country has a monster they’re afraid of, in their nation!~

Caleb had a different approach to his favorite game.  He had fond memories of a game with a more casual party nature.  Caleb said he liked Clue, the “original” game, for its nostalgia.  He liked the mind games that came with like the psychological mind games about it, especially when you are the killer.  Caleb also commented that the game Connect Four conveys an unusual air of despair yet people constantly check it out.

Lora chimed in to state her appreciate for games that require points (like victory points), or racing to build the biggest kingdom, to win.  They pit players against each other; working to get scores higher than each other’s to claim victory, games such as Dominion.  Lora also said that her competitive nature and love of boar games lead her to victory in a charity tournament of Dominion.

Some games take up a lot of space with all their pieces and parts.  But don’t worry, there were more than enough tables for everyone to sit down and play.

Bill likes pen and paper role playing games, especially Pathfinder.  He liked the exhilarating stories and being able to build custom characters however you’d like along with the game’s neat mechanics.   In our conversation we traded stories about characters we’ve both created in this game.  He recanted about mixing and matching abilities of an old Dungeons and Dragons rogue to create a medieval version of D.C.’s Batman.  He played this character in a “Play-by-Mail” game that’s similar to another title, Chess-by-Mail.

I also posed some more general questions to this circle of staff magi.

One of the reasons they were board game henchmen was that it was a cheap way to go to the convention.  They all agreed that working in the game room is a remarkable job.  They enjoy leading people to play new and different games that they may not have played before.  The group enjoyed seeing player’s faces light up while discovering and playing a game.

From casual games like Cranium and Clue to more geeky games like Bones featured above, there’s a board game for everyone.

Sentinels of the Multiverse, was a big hit with new players discovering new games to play.  Together they talked about how there are many games in the massive board game library that people probably would generally pass by, not knowing the magic the boxes contained.  But once players were exposed to them, they would find a new love. Ask players what they are into is really cool as it is all helping to spread the board game culture.

For a brief moment, I also sat down with the two gaggles of players playing the schedule pen and paper games that were notated on the official Planet Comicon schedule.

The first game I sat down with was the Star Wars RPG ran by Sterling Hershey.  The game was of his own design.  Hershey was also a game developer who worked on the Star Wars RPG by Wizards of the Coast.

Dice, check. Droid, check. Snack fries, check.

When I sat down at the game table, a droid announced over the space ship’s intercom “master your steaks are here” putting the table’s players on edge.  The ship they have found themselves on seemed to be of some grand importance.  Maybe it was a flag ship, or held some well-respected, yet malevolent, dignitary (or Sith Lord, same difference).

The rag-tag band was in the middle of fighting brutish aliens called “Gamorreans”. You can think of them as big barbarian space aliens that semi-sort of resemble pigs. “Good thing gamorreans are stupid” remarks a player nervously to the others.  This was just after the team narrowly escaped detection while the group sneaks (albeit narrowly) around the alien occupied ship. The player’s then accessed the ship’s computer to check its schematics. The schematics helped them to scheme against the malevolent actor and maneuver themselves undetected through the ship which they trespass.

This is a small snippet of Sterling Hershey’s “convention campaign” titled Force of Destiny.  For this game, there were a total of five players.  GM Hershey let me know that the player’s goal was to obtain the passenger list, hopefully while remaining undetected.

Next up was the good old fashion Dungeons and Dragons with the sparkling new 5th edition.  I sat around the table and listened to the players fight off a band of highwaymen and goblins.  This was part of something called, Adventure League.  I was informed by the Game Mistress that this adventure was from the previous season.

“We will need to play a round of ‘fist-a-clease’ to decide our next move…”

The troupe was hired by a caravan to help deliver a statue.  They had to go from Vurthyl, a city in the East, to the more mountainous western city of Parnast.  The players had taken a captive and were in the middle of questioning them.  The captive was a goblin who was left on the brink of death after the combat. Given a chance, he tried to make his escape, freeing himself from his rope bonds and runs from the team.  He dodges a harrowing swinging spear from one of the player’s vein attempts to stop him.  After a few moments, the players succeed in stopping the goblin’s escape.  They did this by pinning him to the ground by his cloths with an arrow.

In the excitement of combat, one of the player’s shouts “I’m going to loot the looter”! The highwaymen’s corpses left a pile of loot in the manner of weapons, armor, and gold coins.  While the more meat headed muscle brained characters argued about who gets what swords and, more importantly, who gets to prove their brute and manliness by interrogating the goblin, one of the sneakier women upstages the arguing men and interrogates the goblin quite handily.  All that happened while a more magical inclined player finds a strange “healer’s bag”.  It was filled with valuable magical creature potion ingredients.  The ingredients turned out to be the toenails from a giant!

There were some great things I saw in both of these games.  Interestingly, the character sheets that were laminated.  The maps were drawn on with dry-erase markers for easy clean-up.  Players had name tags in front of them that helped the game masters remember what player was what character.  Also, my favorite moment was the discussion of “fist-a-clease” a player created wrestling contest they used to make decisions.

The board game room was a place of glory, honor, winners, losers, and fun to be had by all.

All images were taken by me, Casey Shreve.




We didn’t just livestream from Planet Comicon, we also recorded this week’s Zombpocalypse Now in front of a LIVE audience! Listen!

Dustin: Well, we, as usual, said we were going to talk about one thing last week, and here we are, talking about something else.

Timothy: We did, and we are. We said we were going to talk about the last three episodes of Santa Clarita Diet, but instead…

Dustin: We recorded an episode in front of a live audience at Planet Comicon!

Timothy: … just like the last few years. Like the last, what, three years?

Dustin: I am trying to make this sound exciting. You are not helping.

Timothy: It was fun.

Dustin: It was. It was also kind of a greatest hits episode, where we talk about The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and Santa Clarita Diet, and take questions from the audience. Who were awesome.

Timothy: It’s always a great time talking to other fans of these shows we love to hate to love. To hate. To love.

Dustin: It is complicated. But this show isn’t. And you can actually hear the audience! Sort of. Mostly.

Timothy: And every time you tapped on the table. All the times you tapped on the table.

Dustin: I… do that, yes. It’s a thing I do. That table was loud. It’s not my fault.

Timothy: And you can hear it all its glory. We had a good time out there, and we hope you have a good time listening to it.

Mindy: Oh! Hey! Hi! And rate and comment on our podcast and all our other podcasts on iTunes and Podcasts.com! 

Dustin: Where the hell have you been? 

Mindy: Working the floor, getting interviews and SO MUCH MORE! Check out all our great Planet Comicon Coverage! Here at SciFi4Me!


BSFA Award Winners Announced

[Banner image courtesy British Science Fiction Association]

The British Science Fiction Association held their annual awards ceremony April 14-17, 2017, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole during “Innominate,” the 68th Eastercon in Birmingham, UK. The winners are as follows:

  • Best Novel: Dave Hutchinson – Europe in Winter  (Solaris)
  • Best Shorter Fiction: Jaine Fenn – “Liberty Bird”  (Now We Are Ten, NewCon Press)
  • Best Non-Fiction: Geoff Ryman – 100 African Writers of SFF (Tor.com)
  • Best Artwork: Sarah Anne Langton – Cover for Central Station by Lavie Tidhar  (Tachyon Publications)

The BSFA Awards are based on a vote of association members and members of the British national science fiction convention Eastercon. In each category, the BSFA  awards aim to recognize the most worthy examples in each category, promote science fiction as a genre, and most importantly, get people reading, discussing and enjoying all aspects of contemporary science fiction.

Check Sci-Fi4Me’s Calendar of Events for the next Eastercon as well as other conventions and shows scheduled in your area.


Remembering a Princess at Star Wars Celebration

The Star Wars Celebration convention is often touted as creator/director George Lucas’s love letter to fans, and never more so than this year’s 40th anniversary event in Orlando. What began as a little “space opera” opening with ten simple words shining blue on a black screen: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” has grown into a powerful film franchise spanning decades, and has attracted an enormous global audience of fans both young and old.

Actress Carrie Fisher in 2013
Actress Carrie Fisher is remembered at Star Wars Celebration Orlando (photo courtesy Riccardo)

The joy surrounding this Celebration convention was expected to be somewhat subdued by the death in December 2016 of actress Carrie Fisher. Emotional tributes to Star Wars’ feisty and much-beloved Princess Leia certainly abounded during the 4-days, as cast and crew members from the film series appearing onstage shared many fond memories of working with the candid actress/writer, portraying Fisher as a no nonsense woman who wielded an acerbic and often outrageous wit.

“When I cast it, I said I want somebody young to play the part,” said director Lucas. “I want somebody very young. When Carrie came in, she was that character. She was very strong, very smart, very funny, very bold, very tough, and there really wasn’t much of a question. There are not very many people like her. They are one in a billion. For this particular part, it was absolutely perfect. … She wore a dress through the whole thing, but she was the toughest in the group.”

Lucas went on to say, “She will always be the princess who took command and never backed down, never was in jeopardy. She was always helping the other guys get out of the messes she created. We’ll all love her forever and ever.”

Mark Hamill Speaks About Fisher

Little fan as Princess Leia at Star Wars Celebration (Deborah J Bell)

In his moving talk, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) began by saying, “Here’s a panel I hoped we wouldn’t have for another 30 years.” After pausing for a moment of obvious emotion, he then went on to share many of his favorite personal stories of Fisher. Hamill also played touching video tributes from both director Lucas and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.

Onscreen, Kennedy described what would be the final time she saw Fisher, when she went to her house to show her the “young Leia” CGI-enhanced cameo from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

“I rolled this shot, and she didn’t say anything right away, she just sort of leaned back stunned. She…dropped the F bomb several times,” Kennedy added. “She said, ‘Oh my effing God!’ I said, ‘Yeah, it’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?!’ She said, ‘Yeah, I can’t believe it.'”

“We will see a lot of Carrie in [Episode] VIII (The Last Jedi), Kennedy assured fans.

Surprise Appearance by Fisher’s Daughter Billie Lourd

Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd onstage at Star Wars Celebration (courtesy Lucasfilm)

Of all the moving tributes to the late Fisher, perhaps none was more poignant than the unannounced appearance of her daughter Billie Lourd, making her first public appearance since her mother’s death, wearing a custom-designed Princess Leia-inspired white dress. Lourd was introduced by Lucas during Celebration’s “Forty Years of Star Wars” opening panel, and spoke directly to fans about the mother she loved and the person she most admired.

“My mom used to say she never knew where Princess Leia ended and Carrie Fisher began,” Lourd said. “She was imperfect in many ways but her imperfections and willingness to speak about them are what made her more than perfect. My mom, like Leia, wasn’t ever afraid to speak her mind and say things that might have made most people uncomfortable.”

“She taught me by her own example, that the most evolved person is seemingly a contradiction – they are both the strongest and the most vulnerable person in the room. And that was her. That is Leia.”

Lourd finished her speech by introducing a special tribute video featuring the first footage of Fisher on the set of what would be her final film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.


World Fantasy Awards Unveil New Design

The World Fantasy Awards has a new award design.

Following a year-long competition, the World Fantasy Awards Administration and the Board of the World Fantasy Convention selected a design from artist and scupltor Vincent Villafranca. The new design will be presented at the World Fantasy Awards in San Antonio, TX during the annual convention November 2-5, 2017.

The selection process involved invitations to artists with a proficiency in 3-D arts in the fantasy and horror communities. The shortlisted contenders were asked to supply a model of their designs, which were then provided to a foundry for quotes on pricing to make sure the new award would fit within the budget of conventions moving forward.

The World Fantasy Award Statuettes are for excellence within the Fantasy genre, presented annually at the World Fantasy Convention. The categories are Life Achievement, Novel, Long Fiction, Short Fiction, Anthology, Collection, Artist, Special Award-Professional and Special Award-Non-Professional.

The original award, a bust of author H.P. Lovecraft, was designed by Gahan Wilson. However, with increased controversy surrounding Lovecraft’s perceived prejudice, the design was retired after forty years of use. Lovecraft’s image will still be used for the nominee pins given to all who are shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award.

The design itself follows the Administration’s desire for an award that would encompass the entirety of the fantasy field, from high fantasy to horror. Trees can be found throughout our various cultures, from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil to Yggdrasill, trees have featured in a number of stories that would fall into the fantasy genre.